At the urging of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will host a workshop in Buffalo on Friday afternoon with local businesses that are hurt by the ongoing National Hockey League (NHL) lockout. With 13 weeks of lockout without resolution, local Buffalo businesses are being hit hard by the lack of hockey-related business revenue that usually increases this time of year. The SBA will begin engaging with small business owners in the Buffalo area on Friday afternoon regarding available assistance for their businesses during challenging situations.
“The more games that are lost to this lockout, the more our local businesses lose,” Senator Gillibrand said. “I am pleased the SBA is stepping up with helpful resources that can offer a lifeline to Buffalo’s small businesses, and I strongly encourage our businesses to work to take advantage of all that is available to help make it through this difficult time.”
“The ongoing NHL lockout is roughing up the economy of Buffalo and Western New York, but it’s local businesses, workers and their families being stuck in the penalty box,” said State Senator Tim Kennedy, the ranking Democrat on the State Senate Economic Development Committee, who has been working with Empire State Development to help ensure businesses hurt by the NHL lockout get the support they need. “As the lockout drags on, it’s important for business owners to know that agencies like Empire State Development and the Small Business Administration are here to help. I applaud Senator Gillibrand for her efforts to help businesses struggling through the lockout, and I encourage local business owners to attend this upcoming business-assistance event.”
“SBA is pleased to be working with Senator Gillibrand on this important program to help local businesses work through this difficult time,” said Franklin J. Sciortino, SBA Buffalo District Director. “SBA along with its partners – including SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business, Small Business Development Centers, and Women’s Business Center have a history of working with the small business community to help maximize business success.” “Our exceptional partnership will provide counseling and training benefits which are critical to the long-term success of any small business.”
“The loss of hockey has a real economic impact,” Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen said. “The loss of hotel room nights bought by visiting teams and their fans as well as the loss of restaurant and bar revenue to downtown businesses. In Buffalo, we really feel it as many of our Canadian friends fill our arena and enjoy our downtown restaurants and bars. We estimate about 1 million dollars lost in hotel stays but that is significantly compounded when you factor in the loss of Canadian spending. We are all looking forward to watching hockey again and we hope it’s soon.”
During the winter months, Buffalo Sabres fans gather in downtown Buffalo for the 41 home games each year — not including potential playoff games — eating at local restaurants and celebrating after games. Downtown Buffalo establishments also gain significant revenue from opposing teams’ fans and many Canadians that cross the border and spend time in Western New York. Even during away games, Buffalo businesses are bustling with fans spending time downtown.
The current NHL lockout is a result of a labor dispute through the league’s collective bargaining agreement and has been ongoing since September 15. By late November, the lockout had cost the local Buffalo economy an estimate of nearly $2 million in lost hotel revenues alone.
The SBA offers loan programs, including micro-loans that provide small, short-term loans for small businesses that can be used for working capital or the purchase of inventory, supplies and equipment. Their Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State College also offers technical assistance and long-term guidance to help businesses retool after an unforeseen hardship.
Senator Gillibrand’s letter to SBA Administrator Mills is attached.
Small Business Administration NHL Lockout Resources Workshop
WHEN: Friday, December 14
WHERE: Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
1 Lafayette Square
PARTICIPANTS: Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Center, Erie County IDA, SCORE Buffalo-Niagara, Canisius College Women’s Business Center, Empire State Development, NY Business Development Corporation, and PathStone Enterprise Center, Inc.